Business HR Roundup – Ramadan, Flexible Working For Women and Mental Health

February 2023. By Kimberly Bradshaw (CEO, Spotlight HR.)

Well, it’s certainly nice to see the flowers beginning to bloom and the promise of sunnier times to come. In this edition we look forward to Ramadan, focus on some astonishing HR revelations about flexible working hours for women and update you on some top tribunal rulings. As ever, if you have any HR queries, just reach out. Speak soon!

Flexible working for women – Study shows that not all is as it seems

Are female flexible working hours really all smoke and mirrors?  Well, the results of the Careering into Motherhood survey of over 2,000 working mums with children under 18 makes for sorry reading. The stats below are really quite shocking – especially in such a tough labour market – where this pool of female talent is really needed.

  • 40% of employed mothers found themselves completing tasks outside of work hours. With some saying there was an expectation to do a full-time job in part-time hours.
  • 38% had not asked for flexible hours, (despite employees having the legal right to request flexible work)
  • 46% feared asking for flexible hours could impact promotion opportunities.

And with two thirds believing there are fewer career opportunities following maternity leave, flexible working hours for women needs to be given some serious attention.

Feel free to read the full article here.

Ramadan in the workplace – HR tips for the holy month

Ramadan 2023 begins on March 23rd and ends on Friday the 21st April with the (Eid al-Fitr) festival, to mark the conclusion of daylight fasting.

During this time many Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. As well as spending time with family and friends to celebrate, prayer and charitable activities are also often practiced.

Considered as one of the biggest spiritual events on the Muslim calendar, it can be a challenge to balance their Ramadan commitments with work. So here we consider ways you can support members of your team who will be observing Ramadan, whilst also promoting an inclusive workplace for everyone.

Through the HR lens – 5 ways to support Ramadan at work

  • Acknowledge Ramadan – why not send out a celebratory message about the celebration to your employees, with a little information about it.
  • Educate – have a public calendar visible showing all religious events, from all faiths, to promote awareness and inclusion.
  • Flexible hours – let those workers who are observing Ramadan adjust their working hours. Ask them what might work best for them.
  • Hybrid working – if you have a hybrid working system, this would be a great time to assist those observing Ramadan, by letting them work from home.
  • Annual leave – prepare for an increase in holiday requests during Ramadan. Especially for the final (Eid al Fitr) festival celebration.

Employment Tribunal in focus The power of employment contracts

This month we are covering two tribunals because they are both important. First up, we have a case relating to a law firm found to be in breach of contract for altering the terms of an offer that had been agreed with a trainee solicitor previously. Both orally and through emails, arrangements included reduced hours, working from a local office and having a parking space, in order to balance childcare responsibilities.

However, the actual contract of employment deviated from this arrangement, stating it was vital the new starter could attend offices further away on occasions and work extra hours when reasonable.

Ultimately, the Employment Tribunal sided with the claimant. This shows the importance of attention to detail and accuracy throughout the employment process, be that oral or through email – changes cannot be made to employee’s terms without consultation.

Need professional contract advice? Please do get in touch.

 Mental Health in the Workplace – This tribunal spells it out

When a mechanical engineer ‘suspended’ himself due to his mental health concerns and failed to provide sick notes due to his condition, he was dismissed for gross misconduct, with the case ending up in tribunal.

The judge ruled that this engineer had been unfairly dismissed, ruling that if the employees mental health issues had been properly considered, there was a high likelihood he would have remained an employee, as he was held in high regard – with 37 years of service. Plus, changes in his mental health had been flagged by staff and with HR prior to his departure.

This case demonstrates the need for employees to dig deeper when evaluating their peoples’ mental health within the workplace and offering support and empathy.

Need more advice? Check out our blogs on wellness in the workplace here.


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